How to knit the Horseshoe Cable Stitch

A step-by-step tutorial on knitting a beautiful stitch often called double cable, horseshoe cable, or wishbone cable.

The true beauty about cable stitches is that they look oh so complicated but most of them are quite easy to knit. If you are wondering how to knit a horseshoe cable, then you came to the right place.

A swatch in the wishbone cable stitch

In this tutorial, I’m going to show you this easy 6-row repeat which creates a beautiful (but sadly not reversible) pattern. It’s often used for Aran sweaters but will look great on almost all other garments (like hats, etc) as well.

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It is also called “Wishbone Cable” because it looks a bit like a lot of wishbones strung on a chain. The alternate name “Double Cable stitch” derives from the fact that you are actually knitting two 3×3 cables next to each other. So quite similar to the Honeycomb cable, but you always cross the cables in the same direction.

Tip: Here’s a lovely practice pattern for a mug cozy that makes use of this stitch. My cable socks also feature it.

Instructions

Cast on multiples of 18 stitches.

  • Row 1: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 2: k3, p12, k3
  • Row 3: p3, k12, p3
  • Row 4: k3, p12, k3
  • Row 5: p3, C6B, C6F, p3
  • Row 6: k3, p12, k3

C6B = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back
C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in front

You can exchange the cable cross stitches in row 5 as “p3, C6F, C6B, p3” if you want the Horseshoe cables to point towards the bottom of your project (so, upside down).

a close-up of a swatch knitted in horseshoe cable stitch with 3 purl selvedge

You can space out the cable crosses even further or bunch them together by 2 rows as well if you like a more condensed look.

Also be aware, that you are free to adjust the purl stitches around the cables freely. I added 3 purl stitches to either side, but you can cut them down completely or even add more purl stitches. It’s really up to you!

the reverse side of the horseshoe cable stitch
The wrong side of a Horseshoe Cable

Small double cable

Small double cable knit in both directions.
Two small double cables next to each other (the left one is upside down).

Naturally, you can also knit the classic double cable by combining two 2×2 cables. In this case, the repeat would look like this:

  • Row 1: p3, k8, p3
  • Row 2: k3, p12, k3
  • Row 3: p3, C4B, C4F, p3
  • Row 4: k3, p8, k3
  • Row 5: p3, k8, p3 (optional)
  • Row 6: k3, p8, k3 (optional)

As the cables are a bit smaller, I personally feel that 3 or 5 in between rows are enough, but feel free to adjust this smaller version of the classic horseshoe cable according to your own preferences.

And again, if you exchange row 3 for “p3, C4F, C4B” you can knit the small double cable upside down.

That’s how you knit the HorseShoe Cable Stitch. Feel free to comment with your questions and I’m sure we’ll find a solution together!

How to knit the horseshoe cable stitch pattern
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6 thoughts on “How to knit the Horseshoe Cable Stitch”

  1. You say:
    “C6B = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back
    C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back”

    Don’t you mean
    C6B = slip 6 stitches to cable needle and hold in back AND
    C6F = slip 6 stitches to cable needle and hold in front

    6 stitches instead of the 3
    “front” on the C6F

    Reply
    • Hey Julien,

      why would you think that? If you were to slip 6 stitches to the CN, you’d get a veeeerrry big cable. Slipping 3 stitches is right.

      So, it’s a 6 stitch cable (hence the name) where you cross in the back. C6B

      Norman

      Reply
  2. Hello, thank you for such a wonderful tutorial. Could you tell me the brand of yarn that you used for the purple horseshoe cable?

    Reply
  3. C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in back”
    The above is the same explanation given for C6B.
    Should the explanation be “C6F = slip 3 stitches to cable needle and hold in FRONT”?

    It did take me a bit to understand that the C6 was for the complete cable stitch: 3 stitches slid onto the cable needle/holder and 3 left on the regular needle.

    Your site & YouTube channels are where I look first when I’m trying something new. Thank you for being clear & concise.

    All the best to you.
    B

    Reply

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